A week ago yesterday my bride received a phone call. It was one of those calls that you dread. Her dad, Dennis, was in the hospital due to a stroke. It was “minor” but for a man like Dennis and for a family like ours it is major. Dennis is an athlete (at times becoming a scratch golfer!). Dennis is the life of the party. Dennis is the picture of the entrepreneurial spirit. Dennis is the kind of man that other men want to be. This is seen in the respect that his four son-in-laws have for him and the tender love that he bestows on his four daughters.
Amy left Detroit early last Thursday morning and drove (I am sure more quickly than she cares to admit) directly to the hospital room in Evansville, IN where Dennis was beginning his recovery.
But wait, that’s not the whole backstory.
The beloved St. Louis Cardinals were about to finish their three game homestand against the hated Chicago Cubs. The Cards had won the first two games of the series and were in position to sweep and return to first place in the division. In business like fashion they dispatched the Cubs and welcomed to town their cross state rivals, the Royals for a weekend set.
Every single day there was baseball. Every single day there was time spent in a hospital room. Every single daay there was a conversation over lunch or dinner that took place between Amy and Dennis about the Cards.
You see baseball was the beginning of healing. It was normalcy brought into an abnormal situation. It was the pastoral balm that allowed father and daughter to sit and talk and be. Baseball. Not doctors. Not a golden tongued preacher. Not a good book. Baseball. It was the context. The rhythm of life that never stops. It’s six on, one off created rhythm that touches us deep.
Some say the season is too long. Some say the games are too long. Some say it’s boring. Some say it’s day in and day out grind take away from it.
I could not disagree more. It is redemptive. It is ongoing. It is always with you. It provides passion, joy, pain, sorrow, elation. Most of all, it provides time. Time for a father and daughter to be together. Time for them to get lost together and forget that they are in a hospital room. Time for them to be transported to that place they both love. That place where the buzz of the crowd, the warmth of the sun, and smell of the hot dog fill you.
A Hospital Room.